Clerics plead with State to reopen churches
By Kepher Otieno and John Shilitsa | April 30th 2020
Clergymen in Nyanza and Kakamega want the government to re-open churches, promising they will devise new methods to ensure rules set to curb spread of Coivid-19 are met.
The church leaders said they will ensure the services are staggered and only allow a specific number of people in a particular service to ensure social distancing is observed.
“We want our flock to be safe. To this extent, we have initiated honest and open discussions with various religious leaders in Nyanza to adjust their mass or prayer service timelines,’’ said Nyanza Clergy Interdenominational Caucus Chairman Washington Ngede.
At the same time, Samuel Manyonyi, the Alliance of Registered Churches in Kenya national chairman, said the government should come up with new rules for the churches as it did for restaurants and hotels, which have been allowed to reopen their business.
“I don’t understand how the government allowed restaurants to reopen but left churches from that list. Churches with many followers can be asked to make arrangements that will enable members attend services in sessions to avert crowding,” said the cleric.
“As a member of the clergy, I would appeal to the government to re-evaluate the situation and allow Kenyans to go to church and pray, albeit under strict guidelines.
“Church being a key stakeholder in social and economic development of the society, we urge the government to listen to our call and make necessary adjustments despite the challenges brought about by Covid-19,” he added.
Rev Manyonyi also urged the government to ensure there are valid reasons before committing people to mandatory quarantine, saying the whole process was being taken advantage of, especially by security agents.
“We can’t only rely on high temperatures to send people to mandatory quarantine. Somebody could be experiencing other medical issues like malaria, and forcing such people into quarantine will not help the situation,” he said.
According to him, proper screening ought to be conducted before suspected cases are sent to isolation centres.
A number of churches have been holding online services after the country put in place strict measures to control spread of the coronavirus.
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